I’m Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate at Google, and welcome to another lightning talk from the Webmaster Conference Lightning Talk series.

Today, I’m going to talk about how to get started with rich results and use Search Console to optimize your search appearance in Google search.

There are four questions I’ll try to answer today– what are rich results and structured data,

how to uncover issues with alerts and checks,

how to fix and validate errors and warnings,

and how to monitor and optimize search traffic.

 

Many years ago, you would search for a piece of information on Google and all results would come up as plain blue links. Over time, the answers that Google provided to your queries became richer, evolving in what we call today rich results.

Rich results are search results that provide special features or information.

For example, for recipe rich results, you might see a small picture of the dish and a preview of some ingredients.

For a job posting rich result you might see a description, salary, and click through to apply for the job. Those results are powered by Google’s ability to understand the content of a website.

Sometimes Google can also use markup that developers add to their pages so machines can understand their content better. This markup is called structured data. To get started, visit our search gallery and browse through all the structured data types supported by Google.

This will help you identify which types would work for you, and you might even find a specific case study to help you understand the value of implementing it. Once you find one or more features

you’d like to implement, read the documentation

to learn how it works, see sample code, guidelines,

and detailed reference information.

Depending on your content management system,

you can install an extension or plugin that

does the hard work for you.

Otherwise, your developers can use the rich results

test to check and modify their code in the live code editor.

This can save valuable time and effort.

It’s always more efficient to have

your markup working properly before moving into production.

Once you’ve implemented structured data on your site,

you can start analyzing it in Search Console enhancement

reports.

There are three questions that are at the heart of the reports

you see in Search Console.

Is there anything wrong with my site?

How can I fix any issues and tell Google about it?

And how can I optimize my search performance?

Let me go through an example of how

you would use Search Console to answer those questions

for your rich results.

In order to answer question number one,

there are two things you need to know.

The first one is that we’ll notify you whenever we

find an issue on your website.

Whenever Search Console finds an error in your pages,

we’ll send you an email to let you know about it.

You’ll get some details about the issue with a link

to more information or to the report you need to check.

The second thing you need to know

is that if an existing issue starts affecting more pages,

you won’t get an email.

So take a look at the enhancement reports

once in a blue moon and check that the trends

are somewhat steady.

Some amount of fluctuation is natural,

but you don’t want to see sudden spikes.

To see a summary of the health of all the structured data

on your site, go into Enhancement Report

in Search Console.

There is a separate report for each rich’ result

type and another report for structured data

that had errors that prevented us

from knowing the type of rich result.

You’ll see an enhancement report only for rich result types

that we detect on your site.

See the documentation for a list of rich results report types

that we currently support.

By default, issues are sorted by a combination of severity

and number of pages affected.

If you see an error that seems like the result

of a bad template, fix it first.

Then continue fixing other issues

that are unique to each page following

the order in the table.

Click an issue in the table to see more details about it,

as well as a list of URLs affected by it.

For URLs which you’d like to further explore in depth,

click the small inspection icon close to it.

This will run a URL inspection for this page.

You’ll find three main sections in the URL inspection results.

In the presence on Google Card, you’ll

see a verdict on whether or not a URL can appear

in Google search results.

In the coverage section, you’ll learn

where the page was discovered, when was the last crawl,

and by which user agent, and whether the page is included

in the Google web index or another version of it

was chosen by Google.

In the Enhancement section, you’ll

find any structured data details along

with AMP and mobile usability warnings and errors.

You can use Search Console to dive deeper into the issue

and debug it.

Take a look at the results and try

to identify what needs to be fixed in your page.

Once you fix your issue, go back to this page

and click Test Live URL.

This runs a test against a live page for information

similar to the indexed URL.

This is very useful to test live if an issue still

exists even after you fixed it in your site.

Now, go back to the issue page on the structured data report

and click validate fix.

This will trigger a validation process for the current issue.

First, Google will check a few sample pages.

If the issue exists in any one of them,

validation ends and the validation state

remains unchanged.

If the sample pages do not have the current error,

validation continues with state started.

When all errors of warnings URLs have been checked

and the issue count is 0, the issue state changes to passed.

You can see the progress of validation requests

by clicking the validation details

link in the Issue Details page.

I’ve spoken a lot about errors and warnings.

Now, let’s talk about something nice–

optimizing and growing your search traffic.

In order to do that in Search Console,

I recommend using the performance report, which

provides you with plenty of data about your traffic from Google

Search.

In that report you’ll find a Search Appearance tab just

below the main chart.

You’ll see in a glance the volume

of traffic coming to your website through rich results.

Some rich results have dedicated filters.

For example, how to and FAQ rich results.

To understand your rich results performance over time,

add the filter to the report for the specific search appearance

you want to examine, such as videos or product results.

You can do that by clicking a row in the table of the search

appearance tab.

This will update all your performance charts

to show only rich results traffic by queries, pages,

commentaries, and devices.

Look for patterns in your data that

show how a specific segment of traffic is performing.

For example, you may find out that the specific group

of pages is not driving rich results, which

could point at opportunities to enhance your structured data

implementations.

You may also notice a drop in rich results performance

if your structured data implementation was

affected by a website change.

I hope that now you have a better

idea of how Search Console can help you optimize your search

appearance on Google.

If you liked this video, make sure to check out

the Search Console training series in the Google Webmasters

channel.

You’ll love it.

And I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming

webmaster conferences.

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